World roundup: December 18 2023
Stories from Yemen, Sudan, Russia, and elsewhere
TODAY IN HISTORY
December 18, 1499: The first Alpujarras Rebellion begins
December 18, 2005: The four year Chadian Civil War begins when the rebel group Rally for Democracy and Freedom attacks the town of Adré near the Sudanese border. The rebels, backed by Sudan and its Janjaweed militia, were eventually defeated by the Chadian government of President Idriss Déby, and an agreement between Déby and then-Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir ended the conflict in January 2010.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Monday became the latest senior Biden administration official to carry his boss’s incoherent message—we demand that you protect Gazan civilians but we promise to do absolutely nothing about it if you don’t—to the Israeli government. The official death toll according to Gazan health officials has now cleared 19,400, with over 52,200 wounded, figures that probably underestimate the real toll of the conflict. Like US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan last week, we’re told that Austin and his Israeli interlocutors discussed ways to reduce civilian casualties and the timing of a hypothetical shift by the Israeli military (IDF) to a “lower intensity” phase of its Gaza operation. Also like Sullivan, Austin stressed that even if the administration disagrees with how the Israeli government is pursuing this campaign it will have no effect on US arms shipments.